WVU's basketball team is really young and it will take a while for this new group to get it together. At times like these, the value of a great head coach cannot be understated. Not simply for the process of developing a team’s young talent, but for assuaging fan frustration with getting our butts handed to us from time to time. Because Bob Huggins is at the helm of our basketball program and Dana Holgorsen is now directing the football team, I rarely find myself questioning what WVU is doing, why we’re doing it, or whether or not the players have been told what to do. At some point the athletes have to execute. Like many Mountaineer fans, I can say that I'm confident that coaching isn’t the issue (see TSM polls for the evidence).
That wasn’t the case during the three football seasons previous to this year. Fortunately, I fully believe those days are behind us.
After a 70-60 loss to a MAC team this past week, no game seems a guaranteed win for an inexperienced Mountaineer Basketball squad. Poor shooting (FG & FT) and turnovers are common mistakes for younger players, as nerves affect them in their first big-time college basketball experiences. Concerns about turnovers and shooting will remain, especially with a quick team as an opponent. And that is what is expected when WVU faces off against the Alcorn State Braves Thursday night at the Coliseum.
Alcorn State is a small SWAC/HBCU conference school from Mississippi (3000 + students). Athletically speaking, they are most famous for their football, producing the late Tennessee Titans quarterback, Steve McNair and more recently Green Bay’s Donald Driver. They’ve never made much of a splash in basketball and there is little reason to believe that they will this year, either. While they’ve completely overhauled last year’s team by recruiting a half a dozen JUCO players, the pressure of big-time college basketball in a Big East arena will likely affect the Braves even more so than the Mountaineers.
Simplistic as it sounds, if WVU can make shots around the basket and cut their turnovers in half (we’re averaging 19 per game), they will win big. This is a tune up game and it comes at a good time. The game will be available on ESPN 3, so my Internet better be high functioning or I’m going to blow a gasket, and completely unrelated to our inexperienced team’s mistakes.